“Knowledge of the poor and needy is not gained by pouring over books or in discussions with politicians, but by visiting the slums where they live, sitting by the bedside of the dying, feeling the cold they feel and learning from their lips the causes of their woes”. - Frederic Ozanam
This month we are featuring several testimonials from our Vincentian members. If you would like to learn more about the Society and the process of becoming a member, check out this website: https://members.ssvpusa.org/formation/, see your local parish, or contact us for more information.
I am so humbled and grateful to be a new Vincentian. Serving others in need is never ending. The caring people I have had the honor to work alongside and to see their compassion and willingness to go that extra mile to help our neighbors in need is something that was missing in my life. God has a plan for all us. I would like to think mine is to serve others with love, respect, and hope. Thanks - Maureen Nemetz
Help Line
Our Help Line is a phone number and email that will accept messages from people in need of emergency assistance. Our Volunteers then refer them to a parish-based Conference near them or our Ozanam Outreach group that handles anyone not in a Conference area.
We are now recruiting for a new group of Volunteers that will learn more about the many resources Omaha has to offer so they can also refer them to further help and an actual name at an agency whenever possible.
We are also updating our Help Line map, so if you are in a Conference and can give us more details, send them to:
Reflections on Vincentian Service
Having only been introduced to the SVdP conference in our parish for only a few months, what stands out to me is the volume of our neighbors that are in dire need of life-sustaining assistance. Our St. James Parish is what I believe most people would consider a middle-class part of town. With that said, I am amazed at the number of neighbors who face the threat of utility shut-off notices, renters who face eviction notices and those who have inadequate food to feed their families. I have come to view the mission of our SVdP conference as a "safety-net" for those whose life circumstances place them in need of the services we can provide in these emergency situations. - Mike Glassman
With food costs rising and availability becoming severely restricted, we could really use your help feeding our neighbors at the Food Pantry.

Every little bit helps!

Drop pantry staples like pasta, canned meat, beans, Hamburger Helper, and more at the Pantry at 2101 Leavenworth St.
Mon-Fri 9-4; ring the doorbell on the west side.

Hy-Vee My Heart Reusable Bag Donation Program

Through the month of February, when you purchase a reusable bag at the Hy-Vee store on 52nd & Center for $2.50,
one dollar of that goes to us!

We can always use these bags to help our Food Pantry guests get their food home, so consider purchasing some for us, drop them at the Pantry, and your gift is doubled!
You could even fill them with pantry staples first!

What a way to celebrate Valentine's Day!
Reflections on Vincentian Service
As a new Vincentian I have been surprised as to how many of our neighbors in a nice “middle-class” neighborhood need help and how desperate their needs are. I am also amazed at how many resources there are available to help them, but how hard the process can be to receive that help. It is refreshing to me that this organization exists to help fill their needs. As one of my fellow Vincentians told me “It is the most important part of their church life because it fills an immediate need”. - Mark Samuelson 
We are presenting this article in parts over several months.

"14 Reasons Why You Should Shop at a Thrift Store"
While you may be sold on donating to a thrift store, there are also many reasons to shop at one.

4. One-Time-Use Items
Need an ugly Christmas sweater for an ugly Christmas sweater party? Or a costume to get splattered in fake blood for a movie you’re making with friends? Or clothes to wear while painting that you wouldn’t mind getting paint on? Then the thrift store is the place for you.

5. The Thrill of the Hunt
Because you never know what you’re going to find at a thrift store (and because they restock so often), every trip is a new adventure. You could find a $1,200 Armani suit jacket for $8 just because it’s from the previous season. Alternatively, you could find a one-of-a-kind item, discover a collectible, or find the perfect painting to put on your wall. Plus, you might just find something that, fixed-up or as is, can be resold for a profit.

6. Emergency Clothing
Forgot to bring a bathing suit for your trip to the beach? Show up at the campsite to discover it’s colder than you expected? Spill ice cream on your button-down? Don’t fret. A thrift shop is a perfect place to pick up what you need when you need it and for a lower price than traditional retail.

Look for some exciting changes in the garden and grounds this year! New partners, new opportunities, new focus!
If you build it, they will come, they say. The Chapel at Holy Family is drawing neighbors and groups with an interest in using our inviting space for music, dance, theater and community meetings and gatherings.
The tbd. Dance Collective brought their monthly Dance Club (pictured) to our 140-year-old warm pine floor in January. Look for this creative workout every last Saturday of the coming months, and plan to attend tbd’s biannual show later this year.

On Sunday, March 3rd, mark your calendars for an afternoon of Irish Music and later this Spring expect some Chicago blues.
Since the beginning of this new year we have had visitors from the Creighton School of Music, from UNO’s school of communication and arts, Omaha Girls Rock, Bemis Center for Arts, and King of Kings Church.

We are talking with Sacred Heart and St. John’s churches about efforts to connect with the North and East Omaha churches and faith community. Our ties to Siena Francis and the homeless community are growing stronger.
We offer use of our space for educators, artists and performers who will provide events that are free and open to the public. SVdP members and community groups who connect neighbors to neighbors and want a space to gather are welcome to contact Bruce Noble about availability.
With the cold weather, the Closet Door has been serving at least 15-25 people a day. These are often people who are not in shelters, but truly on the streets with no other support.

We really need winter boots for both men and women. We can also always use men's coats 2XL and up.
Contact Jeff to arrange donations.
 With the cold weather we have only been serving around 80 people a day at our yellow door this month. That is still a great many healthy meals we are providing to our neighbors who may not be in any kind of shelter. It also eases the strain on other nonprofit programs that feed folks in our area. Food costs are going up though and supplies are running low. We are in particular looking for what we call "salties and sweets". That little extra that rounds out a lunch can help add calories and a special touch. We sometimes have groups bring us baked goods as well - if anyone would like to join that effort we would love it!
The Street Outreach consistently hands out around
135-140 sack lunches a day.
Did you know that once per month we add laundry detergent, toilet paper, cleaning products and more when we can? These go to folks who are homebound or in senior housing towers and need the extra support. Sometimes that little bit of help
makes a huge difference.
We can't thank our volunteers enough for all they do! From preparing sack lunches and handing them out to finding a coat and socks to helping grow food, we have folks doing all kinds of things for our neighbors. And we can't provide all of this crucial emergency assistance without them!
Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha at
Holy Family Community Center
1715 Izard St. Omaha, NE 68102
Did you know the National Office has a great website https://ssvpusa.org/ and an e-newsletter too? https://members.ssvpusa.org/publications/